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Monday, October 10, 2016

The Struggle: A Story part 5 - Finale

Written by: Emelogu Godswill Chimaihe

Part V-(a)

They actually came for you. They had spotted you earlier in school speaking to Sandra. Sandra was a fresher too. She had just approached you to inquire about a course. You had exchanged some laughs in the course of your discussion. You knew you could be friends but you just met and there was nothing going on. Your crime was that Sandra had rejected the advances made on her by the smaller guy among these bullies.

He was definitely the most highly ranked of the four because they did his biddings. Sandra appeared decent enough to know whom to associate with, but they had misunderstood her rejection to mean that she did it because of you.

You were well pummeled and Kalu who had used the same pidgin you don’t understand to talk to them, got a serious reprimand and a slap too.

Finally they are done with you. A broken nose, a cut lips and a swollen eye greets their departure. As they leave, you cry. You cry out of pain; pain borne out of the knowledge of your complete innocence and your vulnerability in a land full of wicked and vile men.

As you cry, Kalu is indifferent and adamant. You begin to suspect his culpability in the grand plan. Did he know beforehand that this attack was coming? Maybe he knew that they would have seized your phone if they saw it because when they asked for your phone, he was quick to tell them that you are yet to get another one after yours was stolen the day you arrived.

But as you continued to shed those tears in pain and agony, he snaps and retorts. He tells you to put your arse together and stop mourning. He reminds you that you are twenty-one years old and should behave so. He tells you that if you had come to the drinks he had invited you; these guys would have known you.

He tells you that these guys are cultists. The smaller one was the leader. Kalu blackmails you and accuses you of landing him into trouble by going after the leader’s girlfriend. You are bitter. You want to curse him but you are scared of him by now. He could be deadlier than you think.

Kalu goes to the pharmacy shop and gets you drugs. You don’t want to take his drugs. But he gives you two conditions; you must take the drugs and you must pay for them. You are now convinced that you just landed in the devil’s nest.

After this incidence, they keep intimidating and stalking you until you are completely disoriented. You threaten to report them to the authorities but Kalu reminds you that you are not the first to face this. Nothing would come out of it; he assures you.
You are left in a dilemma.

You don’t want to tell your parents so they don’t tell you to come back home. You were not even studying your dream course and wouldn’t want to pass on your final chance to go to school. Finally, you give in and decide to belong so that your intimidation would stop.

Kalu assures you that you don’t have anything to lose. All you needed was to pay a little amount of money every semester and you are covered. There was no tasks for you to perform; no task at all. You would be thought those pidgins you couldn’t understand. You would use them whenever any “Kush” approached you and you will be feared by the “Jew” men. You are not interested in getting feared by anyone. You just want to be left alone.

The day is fixed. You thought every initiation was at night, but this one was going to be in one room in town. It is going to be around 5pm and you were to pay for it. You cough out the money and borrow some more from Kalu. But before the “hit” there was going to be the drink and party; those drinks Kalu had always invited you to. Now you know how they come about. You have paid for it and you are indebt for it. It was going to be in a bar patronized by the group.

The party is beginning. Smoke rises from different mouths and noses as though they were chimneys of a 1943 World War II pantry. So much smoke and vile that you are beginning to think that these guys are resident in hell and are puffing from hell. To confound your chagrin, these girls were beginning to join in the party.

This sparsely dressed girl was having chains of weed. She puffs so hard that you are begging to almost pass out. She wore a very short gown. She can’t bend down very low without being naked. She wore a top that showed off every part of her cleavages. She was just almost naked and that was how all of them dressed.

In the nick of time, Kalu had forced you to take the fourth bottle; it would make the process less stressful for you. You are nearing confounding. You are seriously losing control of your nervous system. Your head is spinning with the effect of the beer. They have made you take a sip of the weed, then a white substance. You are now ecstatic. Everything means nothing to you now and you have forgotten your skepticism.

The time is 7pm by now and the party is getting hardcore, people are leaving and it was nearing H-Hour. Then tragedy struck.

Part V-(b) Finale

A banger is heard. A shot from something that must be a gun. In your ecstasy, your head understand that it is danger but you don’t have control of your body right now. The gun shot continues and the people who are there with you all scampers away. Some are left returning the fire and you see that these guys are bullet resistance. Bullets ricochets on impact and the firing migrates away from the scene.

The rush had pushed you to the ground, you think you can see something that looks like blood flowing around but it could still be red wine that had poured. In the midst of this, something pushes you again and you pass out.

There you are, lying on the hospital bed oblivious of how you got there. You were in coma for five hours; you were informed by the nurse. Some students carried you to the hospital for dead. You can’t feel anything. Only your blinking eyes assures you that you are alive. Slowly, feelings return to both hands then finally to your left leg.

You are told that you were shot on the leg and on the ribs. You were lucky that the bullet to the side exited without touching any of the bones that formed your rib cage. But your leg is bad. The doctor said that you would need an amputation ASAP to stand a survival chance.

But before then, your dad must come. You have been placed on temporal suspension by the University for participating in a cult activity. No one would even defend you, no one would tell them that you weren’t a member; at least not yet.

Again, you are faced with the task of explaining to your dad what you were up to. On this case, you are not even sure your mom who often understands would understand. What would your siblings think about you now; your two sisters who were often telling your dad that you were wayward.

When your dad arrives, he doesn’t even come to see you, your mum comes at your bed side and weep uncontrollably. Your elder sister is busy with her wedding schedule and would come visit you later. Your younger sister is studying for a scholarship and your parents preferred no to tell her so as not to disturb her concentration.

The empty stare on your mum’s face worries you. She is disappointed and you know it. You call her faintly but she doesn’t respond. Your dad comes into the ward and he is enraged. Tears fill your eyes and you sub silently. Your mum goes to the window close to your bed and continues her empty stare. You want to talk to your dad but he shuts you up and tells you to reserve the explanation to the devil when you die during the surgery and goes to hell.

He goes over to school to meet with the registrar; leaving you with your mum. He had signed the authorization for the surgical removal of your right leg.
Your mum goes to pick up provisions as prescribed by the doctor. They are mostly pharmaceuticals. You lie silent and in the midst of your silence, a flashback of your life begins. You remember things you wished Control Z could undo. But life isn’t a computer set where you can undo an activity by pressing two tiny buttons.

If only you weren’t drunk and in ecstasy, you could have run too. If only you hadn’t paired in a room with Kalu, if only you had waited to write JAMB again by the way, you are studying a course you have no idea about.

As you are battling with the “ifs” of your mind, you begin to hear these steady and assuring words. Someone was talking to the guy lying down on the next bed. He was billed for a surgery too but it is an appendectomy. His words filter blurringly into your sub-consciousness.

He tells him how we labour in vain because we have refused to tap into the abundance grace God had given us. This grace made available by the shedding of the innocent blood of Jesus Christ. He maintained that this causes our lives to be full of struggles that would always defeat us.

At this point, you are fully back to reality and listens with intent.
He continues to talk. He said that a lot of times, we struggle over things that could come to us naturally. This was because we are far from the saviour. Plenty of times, we are lost in this struggle. We do not realize how vain a life we have lived until we pay the price of our foolishness.

At this point, you are beginning to shed light tears. He wasn’t talking to you but the message was talking to you.
How you had struggled your whole life without acknowledging that things could have been easier if you had Jesus in you.

You are a core church goer who proclaimed knowledge of Jesus but it was just default knowledge. You wish you had known this man all these while. Where had he been?

He notices your tears and comes to sit beside your bed. He tells you how much Jesus loved you and didn’t allow you to perish so that you can come into the knowledge of His saving grace. He tells you that your protection could only come from Jesus and Him alone.

He tells you of His promise to be with you during and after the surgery. He leads you to Christ and you feel this joy in your mind. You were no longer afraid of the outcome of the surgery because you were now in the knowledge of the master of the universe.

Your mum comes in and you are surprised that she is no longer weeping and belligerent. She tells you that your dad just called to tell her that the University launched an immediate inquiry into the matter and that it is already been said that you were not a cultist and could have been there by compulsion.

Your expulsion may not hold after all. She tells you this news as you are being prepared to be wheeled into the theatre. There are much tears of joy on your face, your mum kisses you as you are being administered with anaesthetics and wheeled into the theatre.

To as many as were faithful to stay and read through this message from God, I declare that you will not have to be ravaged by avoidable circumstances, before you understand that there is a Jesus Christ who is readily available to save your soul.
May God’s grace, favour, mercy and peace, bless your soul eternally.

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